Egg Freezing: The Facts

African American woman thoughtful seriousThe technology surrounding family planning gets more and more advanced by the year. Oöcyte cryopreservation, otherwise known as egg freezing, is quickly becoming one of the most common family planning procedures women are considering these days. Whether it be because they want to maximize their chance at a healthy baby, giving themselves more time to put their career first, or they simply just want to have some in storage for when they meet the perfect father, women are taking more control of their reproductive options. According to a study curated by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine 85 percent of egg freezing procedures were elective, and has increased by 700 percent since since 2009.  Women as young as 27 have begun to consider this option. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine refers to this as “social egg freezing,” where young women are exercising their options to have somewhat an insurance policy to a diminishing fertility situation down the road. Here are some things to consider:

1. How invasive is it?

Egg freezing is essentially the first phase of in vitro fertilization. According to endocrinologist and infertility specialist, Dr. Jaime Knopman, “You are going to get anesthesia and there will be a needle puncturing your vaginal wall. That has a risk for infection, but as far as surgical procedures go, it’s a low-risk one.” After the egg production and stimulating hormone injection plan is complete, the 10 minute egg retrieval process takes place. Under a mild dose of anesthesia, a needle-like suction device is used to puncture the ovarian follicles to extract the eggs. Think of it like drawing blood. It’s essentially the same procedure just in a different part of the body.

2. What are the potential side effects of the hormone treatments?

Moodiness and bloating are the most commonly reported side effects from the hormones. According to Knopman, “I’ve had patients tell me they feel amazing and awesome. I’ve had people say they feel great and others say they feel tired. In general, the emotions are steady, and I don’t see patients having a crazy, emotional response.” As surprising as it might seem, the hormones don’t tend to cause much if any disturbance in your normal routine of how you feel.